Shawn sent me an e-mail to let me know that Hallmark Channel has once again removed M*A*S*H from its lineup. According to Shawn, this is the third time in five months that the cable channel has pulled the series. According to the Sitcoms Online Blog, a two-hour weekday block of M*A*S*H from 5-7PM has been replaced by Seventh Heaven. Shawn also found this January 18th MediaPost article that suggests the move might be permanent:
“Certainly, we keep an eye on all demographics,” says Abbott. “But we don’t program to attract 18-49, and we certainly don’t sell our advertising inventory to deliver 18-49.” Abbott says the new programming efforts, starting in the summer, are intended to shift Hallmark to more 25-54 viewers, from 65-plus viewers.
“It takes a while to build some momentum,” he says. “But we really hit our stride in the fourth quarter in December.” Through it all, Hallmark has remained in the top 10 of all cable networks in household and key women 25-54 ratings.
He says the network is looking to shift away from older off-network fare, like “Touched by an Angel,” “Golden Girls,” “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “MASH” and other shows the network airs.
Recall that broadcast network ION dropped M*A*S*H in October of 2009. Cable channel TV Land also airs the series; if Hallmark Channel does decide to remove M*A*S*H for good, TV Land will be the only place to see the series on television unless you’re lucky enough to have a local broadcast station that airs the series.
Monday, February 15th, 2010 Update: According to a post at Hallmark Channel’s Facebook page, M*A*S*H will be returning to the cable channel eventually. Here’s the full post, which was in reply to a question from Matthew about why Hallmark continually removes M*A*S*H from its schedule:
Hallmark Channel USA
First of all thanks for letting us know how you feel. We love praise, but its important to know when our fans have something else to say, too. Also, let us apologize. You are right, we need to do a better job of keeping people up to date on schedule changes. We will try to do that on this page and on our twitter feed @hallmarkchannel. MASH will return to Hallmark Channel, but we don’t have a firm date to give you. But when it does we will post it right here. Thanks
February 2 at 10:25pm
Hallmark’s Twitter page can be found here. Perhaps an announcement regarding M*A*S*H will be forthcoming.